Welcome to FineMineralBlog. My name is Bram Hasler, I’m Canadian mineral dealer living in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I'm writing this blog to help inform people on beautiful minerals. Most photos seen, I find on google. Credit for the photos go out to there owners. Thank you for reading.
This specimen is of the amber style and the colour on it is among the most lustrous of any found in the floodway.
This one is a block style specimen. Its called blocky because the crystals are fatter than the blady ones. They are very rarely seen in the amber colour.
]This one is the blade straight through the centre style. As you can see, one large blade is passing through the centre of the specimen. They are very rare and make for a beautiful piece.
There is an example of the sunflower style. They only come in the amber colour.
Gypsum from the floodway is very fluorescent.
This is a very nice bladie one that gives you a good look at the twined crystals.
A quick review on Red River Floodway
The Red River Floodway surrounds the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The gypsum specimens are found in gypsum zones in the clay. While the floodway was being constructed, the excavators dug into these zones and exposed the selenite specimens. After that, mineral collectors started to dig holes down to the zones to collect the gypsum specimens. Holes can be anywhere from 1 foot down, up to a 12 feet down. Sometimes there is no need for a hole at all. This happens when the gypsum zone is right at ground level. Also, the floodway is not the only place that gypsums have been found. They have been found in farmer's fields near the floodway. It is very difficult to predict where the gypsum zones will be.
There are many different styles of specimens that come from this locality. Specimens types include Sunflowers, Ambers, Blocks, Blade's, Powders, Plates, Double Blocks, Fishtails, Potatoes, Elongated ones and Blade Straight Through the Centre ones. Above, I have examples of most of them but for the ones I don’t I will explain now. Powder ones grow in more sandy clay than the rest of the gypsum. As a result the crystals have a coating of powdery sand on them. Plates form when the gypsum grow to closer together and attach to one another resulting in big sheets. They are rare to see because they are very fragile and most get broken during the collecting process. Double blocks are my personal favourites. They occur when two blocks grow together and attach themselves to each other. They are extremely rare. I have seen one specimen that was five blocks attached together, which in my opinion, is one of the best gypsums specimens to be found in the floodway. Fish tails are twined block crystals, also extremely rare. Potatoes are specimens that didn’t have enough time to develop large crystals, resulting in, a mass of gypsum that is typically a brown to black colour that looks like a potato. Elongated gypsums are specimens that for some reason grew very long. Like the plates they are very difficult to collect, so there aren't many to be seen today.
This super piece is believed to be the best silver from the Silver Islet Mine. It measures 11.5cm x 14cm x 11cm. It is on display in the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
This is another beautiful specimen being displayed at the Royal Ontario Museum. It measures 11cm x 10cm x 4cm.
This specimens is in the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Ontario.
This is a photo of how the mine looks today. You can see the old timbers supporting the shafts.
The mine back in its production years.
Nice galena specimen, now in the Robert B. Ferguson Museum of Mineralogy.
Ex. Gene and Sally LaBerge Mineral Collection. It measures 3.4cm x 3.1cm.
The calcite on the right hand side is from the Silver Islet mine and is also on display in the Robert B. Ferguson Museum of Mineralogy.
Nice matrix piece.
A quick review on the
Silver Islet Mine, Sibley Township, Ontario.
The town of Silver Islet is located an hour and a half east of the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario on the Sibley Peninsula. The island where the mine is located is about a mile and a half offshore from the small town. In 1868, the Montreal Mining Company discovered a vein of pure silver on the small island. At the time the island was only 50 metres squared and about two and a half metres above the water level of Lake Superior. In 1870, the site began to develop when the Silver Islet Mining Company built breakwaters all around the island to stop big waves from hitting it. By using crushed rock, the company was able to expand the island 10 times its original size. They built the town of Silver Islet to use as a home base for the miners. In 1878, a second vein was discovered in the mine which was lucky because most of the purest ore from the first vein had already been extracted. By 1833, the mines life was reaching a close, due to the fact that the second veins purest silver had already been collected and the price of silver was in a decline. When a shipment of coal that was suppose to be delivered before winter, failed to arrive, the mines future sealed. With no time to receive another shipment of coal, the mines water pumps would run out power shortly after the new year. Once 1884 arrived the pumps stopped just as it was estimated and the mine filled with water. In the 1900's there were some plans to restart the mine but it never reopened. In the 16 years between 1868 and 1884, the mine produced $3.25 million dollars worth of silver making it the most productive silver mine in the world at the time. It reached a depth of 384 metres. The silver wire specimens that were collecting inside the mine are big, beautiful and among the best in the world. Since the mine closed, silver specimens have been collected by scuba divers that search the tailing piles for calcite rocks. Once they get them out of the lake they examine the rock for silver. If it looks like there will be wires in it, they will dissolve the calcite away to try and get the specimen. But it is rare to find wire pieces this way and most pieces just get slabbed. Other minerals found in the mine are specimens of calcite and galena as well nice piece's on annabergite.
This mammoth ball of fluorite stands 5ft tall and weights in at six tons. It has an asking price of $125 million dollars USD. It was found in the inner region of Mongolia, in China and it took 3 years to craft it into a sphere.